Here we go again!
Well, hold onto your hats! Believe it or not we are on the move again! Living in the Seattle area for so long surely was a fluke! We have been reassigned to the Bulgaria – Sofia Mission. The Baltic Mission has two office couples, which is rather rare. When we were in the MTC no other office couple in our group was going to a mission with two couples. Well, Bulgaria has none! Recently Turkey was added to their mission to complicate matters more. At this time, the mission president has been running the office by himself. He has been doing all the finances and having missionaries come in three ½ days a week to do the rest. That is really a handicap for him and his mission. The area presidency, when pondering the plight of that poor mission president, evaluated the rest of the area and our names bubbled to the top. We are very sad to leave those we have grown to love in this area, but we want to be where we are needed the most. The need seems most urgent in Bulgaria.
Elder Bennett, of the Area Presidency, called to ask if we would consider accepting the new assignment. Certainly, it would be easier to stay here and share responsibilities with the Millets and remain in the comfy nest we have feathered for ourselves. But how could we say ‘no’ when asked to help in such dire circumstances? The First Presidency made the re-assignment on Tuesday. Elder Segeberg had been feeling as though he was not working to full capacity anyway. Although I managed to keep busy, some of that was organizing materials and writing instructions on how to do what I am doing. Here is a map to give you a little perspective. Bulgaria is about 1000 miles south of Latvia. We had never really thought of going to the Baltics and we really had not thought of going to Bulgaria. But we are always up for an adventure!
We are still learning exactly what this is going to mean to us. We are learning about the area, the currency, the language, the cost of living, etc. Part of me wonders, “Why not Paris or Rome?” But I guess they are fully staffed. Bulgarian is a Slavic language like Russian and uses the same alphabet. When I look at Bulgarian I see no reason why a Bulgarian and a Russian cannot understand each other – some careful enunciation and a little charades seems as though it would work. The cost of living is lower than here which is welcome news. Also, there should be a mission vehicle to drive. Dick was having painful withdrawal from driving. I think they drive on the same side of the road as we are used to. Now we are waiting for them to work out all the visa issues in order to find out exactly when we will be relocating. In the meantime we will continue to enjoy the area here.
Saturday dawned a beautiful sunny day, albeit 9° F! We decided to get out and enjoy! After bundling up, reminiscent of outfitting young children to play in the snow, we headed out. On the way to town we did a little shopping and walked through a park or two. It was very pretty in the snow. We stopped for a bottle of water which was room temperature when we got it. After walking three blocks it was as if it had been in the fridge. If we had not polished it off quickly, it might have frozen solid. After all the high for the day was 14°. We did well except for Dick’s feet and my hands. We decided to visit the Riga Art Museum – I won’t disclose if this was due to a desire for culture and warmth! We had a very enjoyable time there. The building itself was a work of art.
We then wandered around Old Town enjoying the sights. It has become quite a tourist trap but it is so picturesque I can see why.
We happened upon an Italian restaurant that looked interesting, as well as warm. It was located in a cellar and had tons of character. The walls and the ceiling were entirely made of bricks. To make it even better the food and service were great! We may have been in Old Town Riga but we could have been in Venice.
On our way home we strolled through Central Market and then Stockmans where I purchased new mittens. I had envisioned having lots of furry things here and so far I had none. So I opted for leather mittens with rabbit fur lining. I made sure there was plenty of room in them for my “little hotties” and wondered why I did not have any with me on the coldest day that we had been out and about! It was a great day and if it is our last day to enjoy the sights it will be a great memory. If we have more opportunities there is plenty more we want to do and see! It is a lesson on how you never know how time you have left.
Riga has become very familiar and it will be sad to leave. However, leaving people we have grown to love so much in such a short time will be even harder. They will be forever dear friends! And our thoughts and prayers will remain with them.